We had a long weekend ahead and we needed a break from busy Bangkok; the plan was to find a quiet, relaxing place where we could chill out for a couple of days, far from the noise and pollution of the big city, but we didn't want to travel very far either, so flying was out of the question. After discarding a few options, we settled on Koh Mak, since we had been in the neighbor Koh Kood previously and we had only good memories from it, so this seemed like a safe bet. We booked a nice resort for a reasonable price, took an early van in Victory Monument and, 4 hours and a ferry ride later, we were in the island. The resort's owner was waiting for us at the pier with his pickup, and 10 minutes later we finally reached the hotel. After leaving the bag on the bed, we sat at a deckchair in the balcony and just let the time pass by while contemplating the scene around us.
|View from the toilet, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|A peaceful retreat, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Tickling, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
The rainy season was almost there, so some resorts were already closed while others, such as ours, were about to do so after this weekend. We were, therefore, the last guests of the season and, wheter for this reason or not, the resort had a specially peaceful and lonely feel to it. The whole island, actually, felt numb and half asleep. I ignore if it is always like this or if during the high season the flow of tourists is more intense, but my experience during those three days there was that of a tranquil, silent and cozy island. After a while, we stood up from our deckchairs, left the shoes behind and walked slowly through the beach that extended just meters from our bungalow.
|Previous stroll, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Textures and reflections, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Unfinished bridge, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Progression I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Progression II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
Koh Mak is a small island, but not small enough to walk all around it (as is Koh Lipe), so renting a motorbike is the best way to explore every corner of it. So that's what we did, and a short 15 minutes ride later we were at the North side of the island. We parked the bike by the beach, behind the trees, since we had left the small, paved road to venture into a narrow, muddy path following our intuition, and then we walked towards a jetty that could be seen in the distance. But an ominous storm was drawing closer so we had to leave earlier than we would have liked to, promising to come back later when the weather was more generous.
|The return, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sea calligraphy I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sea calligraphy II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Vagrant boats, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|The fading jetty, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
Unfortunately that took quite a bit of time, since the monsoon rain lasted for the most part of that morning and afternoon, so we had to postpone our new visit for the following morning. We rose with the sun and, after a conspicuous breakfast, we returned to the jetty to explore the area around it at ease, which included a stranded ship that nobody seemed to care about, since it laid abandoned and unattended, just meters from the empty beach.
|Balance required, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|The end of the walk, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Stranded chimney I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Stranded chimney II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
In our last afternoon we rode our motorcycle to the Western side of the island and indulged ourselves in another leisure walk along the empty beach, and as soon as I spotted from the distance a small, floating jetty where some kids seemed to be playing and swimming, we headed our steps quickly in that direction, before they would leave the place. It turned out they were a few young immigrant workers enjoying their free time, probably after their work at the resort was done. I exchanged a few words with them and discovered they were all from Myanmar (particularly from the Mon ethnicity, the most abundant in Thailand). Once the sun started to dip, they left the pier, going back to their chores, and we slowly made our way back to our shelter under the beautiful sunset light.
|Sea leisure, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Floating dreams, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Floating solitude, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
Sunset arrives so we sit down, order a drink, and chill out.
|Warm breeze, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|The way back, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Growing darkness, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
It was a relaxing weekend indeed, full of fresh air and clear water, both from the sea and from the sky. Koh Mak is an island I will surely come back to whenever I feel I need a break from duties and city life. It remains quiet and modest, though the scenery is not as it originally used to be, as the forests have been mostly replaced by palm tree plantations due to the flat profile of the island, and that introduces the associated problems known. After all, I left the island refreshed, but also with a bittersweet taste in my mouth, a taste of red puddles and monochrome, devastated trunks.
|Dead and alive, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Memories, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|The crawling trunk, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Desolation, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|